Gas Malaysia Sdn Bhd has announced plans to increase the length of its gas pipeline network from 729 km to 1,458 km by 2006 under a three-phase expansion programme. The company hopes to expand its customer base comprising commercial, industrial and residential users with the pipeline investment of RM100 million a year.

Each kilometre of pipeline will cost RM1 million to lay in the urban areas, and about RM500,000 in the less populated.

The project’s first phase is under way and will begin operation to deliver liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Beranang and Balakong in Selangor, Tampoi in Johor, Tangga Batu in Malacca, and Prai in Penang next year.

The second phase to begin in 2004 will extend the network to include Nilai in Johor state, Ayer Keroh in Malacca and Bukit Tengah in Penang.

By 2005, the pipeline will reach Batang Berjuntai, Batu Caves and Selayang in Selangor, and Simpang Rengam and Larkin in Johor.

The following year, gas will be made available to Seri Kembangan in Selangor and the MEC City in Gambang in Pahang.

Gas Malaysia said its customer base will rise to 96,123 next year, comprising 94,305 residential users, 1,502 commercial and 316 industrial users. The company now has about 50,000 customers, rising to 141,711 in 2004. By 2006, the number of customers will reach 239,000.

Separately, the company is building liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) pipelines in Kelantan that will be linked to Pahang. The LPG is targeted at commercial and industrial customers. The company was awarded a gas utility licence for LPG two years ago.

Gas Malaysia is a joint venture involving Petronas (20%), MMC-Shapadu Holdings Sdn Bhd (55%) and Tokyo Gas-Mitsui & Co Holdings Sdn Bhd (25%).